A Proposal to Adopt Outcomes Goals
for Information Literacy
at Philadelphia University
Literacy Outcomes for Philadelphia University Students
Sample Competencies by Class Standing
Information Literacy will soon become an element examined
by academic accreditation teams in the United States. To be effective in our goal of graduating technologically
adept students with effective research skills, Philadelphia University needs to
plan for ways to integrate Information Literacy objectives into existing
curricula. The adoption of these outcomes goals will provide a tool to open
dialogue between Faculty, Administrators, and Librarians towards this end. After
adoption of the goals, Schools will be asked to propose an implementation plan
that takes into account School specific needs. These proposals will be taken up
by the University Curriculum Committee and appropriate faculty development plans
and implementation methods will be adopted.
The Teaching, Learning and Technology Roundtable proposes
that the University Curriculum Committee adopt the following series of
information literacy goals. The
goals are proposed as a series of outcomes statements as follows:
Four outcomes have been identified:
Students will be able to identify and articulate their information needs.
Students will develop a knowledge base regarding the major formats, delivery
mechanisms, and organizational structure of information resources.
Outcome 3: Using this
knowledge base, students will be able to identify and apply the resources and
tools that are most appropriate for specific information problems.
Outcome 4: Students will demonstrate the
ability to critically evaluate and ethically apply information.
Presently, faculty are teaching research skills and
information literacy across the disciplines.
However in an effort to make this a more structural and institutional
focus and to ensure that all students graduate with a specific set of
competencies and skills we need to embed these skills and competencies into
existing curricula. We need to
establish a programmatic focus on information literacy at Philadelphia
literacy—the ability to use the tools that store, access, retrieve, and
manipulate information—is a component of Information Literacy, but no longer
viewed as a separate “literacy” in itself. Information Literacy encompasses
and employs technological literacy.
In January 2000, The Association of College and Research
Libraries (ACRL) published five Standards pertaining to the definition of an
information literate student. The Standards have been adopted as guidelines at
several institutions that are, like Philadelphia University, beginning to
construct campus-wide information literacy initiatives.
The Standards state:
information literate student determines the nature and extent of the
information literate student accesses needed information effectively and
information literate student evaluates information and its sources
critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge
base and value system.
information literate student, individually or as a member of a group, uses
information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
information literate student understands many of the economic, legal, and
social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses
information ethically and legally.
Each Standard lists
associated Performance Indicators and Outcomes. The full text of the Standards,
Performance Indicators and Outcomes is available online at
below are examples of
the types of information literacy competencies suggested by the Association of College and Research Libraries.
The sample competencies are arranged by class standing. We expect that discussion will take place in each school and in the
Curriculum Committee as to the exact nature of these competencies and the exact
definitions appropriate to each major or program at Philadelphia University.
of the concepts, technologies and tools needed to conduct
Familiarity with the character of the academic library, and the
role of the Library in the academic environment
outcomes attributed to the sophomore year remain constant throughout the Junior
and Senior years. Greater sophistication in demonstration that the students have
mastered these skills is expected, as students progress through their various
programs. The basic skills and expected outcomes to be demonstrated remain the
same across these last 3-4 years of the undergraduate career.
Entry-level knowledge of the broad spectrum of available
Formal introduction of information problem-solving skills and the
Information Research Process
Skill in the location and
access of information resources
Ability to critically evaluate both information sources themselves
and the information drawn from these sources
Ability to apply appropriate information resources to an
Ability to supply proper documentation and citation styles to
information sources in a variety of formats
Ability to reflect on and assess the outcome of the Research
Basic-level familiarity with the literature of the students’
Basic-level awareness of global ethical issues surrounding
information access and information technology
Ability to effectively apply the Information Research Process to
Increased flexibility and skill in identifying potential
Knowledge of and confidence using an array of information
resources, in a variety of formats
Ability to locate and access these resources, not just in Gutman
Library, but in other libraries and information centers
Ability to recognize when to end active research and synthesize
information into end-product
Ability to effectively assess the outcome of the Research Process,
and effect improvement in subsequent research activities
Consistent application of proper citation and documentation, and
knowledge of the ethical issues necessitating such actions
Advanced knowledge of the core publications and information
resources appropriate to the students’ chosen professions
Seniors, 5th year Architecture students, continuing education,
Students at this level will have accrued the basic
understanding of location and access issues,
the research process,
what critical thinking / evaluation of information are,
documentation, and that projects in this year will demonstrate these abilities.
Solid familiarity with applicable disciplinary resources
Knowledge of how the information pertaining to their professions
is organized, packaged, disseminated
Ability to locate and access this information, regardless of
format or ownership
Ability to identify a wide variety of potential information
resources, and effectively investigate and evaluate the merits of each
Ability to conduct on-going self-assessment of the Research
Ability to self-correct during the stages of the Research Process
Ethically use information, and possess a global perspective on the
ethical issues surrounding information access, use, and information technology